The oil and gas industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, thanks in part to new technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Big Oil companies have benefited significantly from fracking, though there are several smaller players in the industry that have also profited. Companies that produce fracking sand, a key component in the hydraulic fracturing process, have become more popular with investors in recent years [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Mining stocks have received a lot of attention over recent years, as more and more investors have been turning to this sector in search of attractive returns. But as witnessed last year, mining companies in particular can quickly make a turn for the worse, with rising operational costs and falling commodity prices making big impacts on bottom line returns [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The bulls have returned to the driver’s seat at home as evidenced by the S&P 500′s steep rebound following the short-lived pullback that was sparked on the last trading day of July. Easing tensions between Russia and Ukraine and a (temporary) ceasefire in Gaza welcomed back buyers on Wall Street after the S&P 500 managed to sink about 4% in just two weeks [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Major equity indexes climbed higher this past week thanks to some encouraging economic data releases at home. Investors welcomed a 3.4% improvement in pending home sales over the past month, better-than-expected ADP employment data on Wednesday, and upbeat ISM manufacturing data on Thursday. Overseas, tensions between Ukraine and Russia remain at center stage, and as such, the lack of major developments left the doors open for buyers [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Our society today thrives on technological breakthroughs; whether its smarter sensors or more efficient semiconductors, we are constantly seeking out ways to improve our everyday lives. When we think about the basic materials market, resources like timber, steel, and copper generally come to mind first; however, what is often overlooked is the development of new materials and the important roles they play in both encouraging and facilitating the very same technological breakthroughs that our society depends on [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Last week saw a major breakthrough for the Keystone XL Pipeline, as an analysis determined that the project would not have a significant impact on Canadian oil sands. By virtue, many are taking that statement as indirectly suggesting that the project would not have a major environmental impact as well. The potential environmental backlash has long stood in the way of this project’s completion, as many feel that the State Department has still failed to take into account the potential impact [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
As we enter the latter part of earnings season, investors have already gotten a taste of how the final three months of 2013 fared for the Street. Thus far, it seems that there have been more earnings misses or disappointing guidance given than major wins or rosy outlooks. This week will keep energy firms in the spotlight with a few key European-based firms reporting, as well as one major agribusiness entity [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]: